Word:

civil action

Noun1.civil action - legal action to protect a private civil right or to compel a civil remedy (as distinguished from criminal prosecution)

CIVIL ACTION. In New York, actions are divided only into two kinds, namely, criminal and civil. A criminal action is prosecuted by the state, as a party, against a person charged with a public offence, for the punishment thereof. Every other action is a civil action. Code of Procedure, s. 4, 5, 6; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 2638. In common parlance, however, writs of mandamus, certiorari, habeas corpus, &c., are not comprised by the expression, civil actions. 6 Bin. Rep. 9.

action, action at law, legal action
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